Eight key traits essential to sales success
by Dave Anderson
Opening Thoughts: Character is defined as "the collective qualities or characteristics, especially mental and moral, which distinguishes a person or thing; a moral strength; reputation." Without question, being distinguished in sales by the right qualities and reputation will create more customers, retain those that you have and provide a more personally pleasurable livelihood. The following eight traits don't comprise a complete list of character traits essential to sustainable sales success, but they are essential blocks in your professional foundation.
1. Keeping promises. What it means: Doing what you say you'll do, when you say you'll do it and why you say you'll do it. And doing so regardless of the cost. This principle must apply equally to customers and co-workers.
A. How it benefits you: You earn trust referrals and more opportunities. So few people "swear to their own hurt" these days that when you do you'll find it easy to stand out and advance quickly.
2. A strong work ethic. What it means: You work hard even when no one else is watching; even when no one else is at all. This principle must apply equally when you are having great, mediocre or poor months. You don't let up when doing great, coast when doing well or let up when doing poorly.
A. How it benefits you: You gain self-respect because, as human beings, we intuitively know that each day we do less than we can we become less than we are. You also develop the discipline that comes from making yourself do what you know you should do and doing it long enough for the action to transform into a habit.
3. Remain teachable. What it means: You realize that you never "arrive." You continue to learn more about your profession and shun the know-it-all, "been there and done that" attitude. This principle goes beyond reading books or listening to CDs in your field. It also means that you seek out feedback and eagerly try new things.
A. How it benefits you: You stay fresh and relevant by continuing to upgrade your skills set. This helps you stay out of ruts and makes your job more fun and interesting over time. As you work harder to improve yourself, you'll find that it's easier to elevate your results on the job. Remember: To get more than you've got, you must become more than you are! The BECOMING has to happen first.
4. Right motives. What it means: You do things for the right reasons. You don't put your personal agenda ahead of the team's or your customer's. When you employ this principle you'll become less self-centered and more outwardly focused. An outward focus always results in an upward income.
A. How it benefits you: Unselfish people are more likely to earn referrals, repeat customers and promotions. In a world where most people have the "Disease of Me," this trait draws others to you.
5. Right language. What it means: You don't diminish yourself or others with profanity, slang, gossip and the like. Words do matter. They can either elevate or distract, inspire or diminish, draw others to you or cause them to secretly despise and mock you.
A. How it benefits you: You are perceived as more professional, responsible and stable. In sales, these three traits translate into income. Right language also carries the right example into your personal life, with family and friends.
6. Persisting in the face of difficulties. What it means: Going one more step after everyone else has given up. Making one last call, starting a little earlier or staying a little later even when it would be easier to do nothing and wait for a better opportunity. Persistence is stubbornness with a purpose. Your purpose is your goal. Make it worth fighting for-create a big enough "WHY," and you'll figure out a way to live with the "what" and "how" necessary to succeed.
A. How it benefits you: Persisting in the face of difficulties creates mental toughness. Over time it becomes a way of life and you become unstoppable. Mental toughness allows you to look at "no" as engagement rather than as rejection and regard obstacles as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks.
7. Honesty in words and deeds. What it means: No white lies or false impressions. You say what is right rather than what is easy, popular or convenient. You don't spin, twist, mislead or deceive.
A. How it benefits you: A clear conscience, good name and solid reputation. When you sleep better, you sell better!
8. Accepting responsibility. What it means: Shunning blame and admitting mistakes. This displays maturity and humility, two key traits essential to sustaining success.
A. How it benefits you: Others trust you and rally around you and you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Since you can't change what you don't acknowledge, you will never grow when you engage in blame and live in denial. Take responsibility that it is your inside decisions more than outside conditions that determines your success in any endeavor.
Dave Anderson is the author of No-Nonsense Leadership: Real World Strategies to Maximize Personal and Corporate Potential. He is a peak performance author, trainer and speaker for leadership and sales. For more information go to: www.LearnToLead.com, or call 650-941-1493.